I’ve been trying to think of how to put ths into words for some time now. Am I a poser? Well, I guess the first thing to do is define the word, poser. I mean this label could mean just about anything in any certain context. So, let’s limit the context to cycling. I actually did some research on the subject via the wonderful world of Google and found some interesting references, but most of those references had one thing in common: disrespect. Without exception, every use of the word poser included some derogatory meaning or reference to which the description was applied. For example, mountain bikers use the word poser to describe someone who buys a very expensive mountain bike, but never takes the bike out on the trail. Road bikers tend to describe a poser as someone who wears a racing kit but never really races. Since I fall into the road biker category more than into the mountain biker category, I tend to reserve my usage of the word poser as it applies to road biking.
In light of the road biker definition, it is interesting to digress here a little bit and look at this from a national standpoint as well as an international standpoint. It has been my experience that when international fans wear their favorite team kit, others judge the behavior as showing loyalty and/or admiration for their individual country's cycling heroes. Americans on the other hand, especially in the road cycling community, label this same behavior as being a poser, or one who wishes they could, but can’t or doesn’t. I have even heard of the local “racer dudes” complaining about “non-racer dudes” wearing their same team kit. I guess it’s an ego thing or a, “hey, I earned the right to wear this kit and all this poser did was pay for it” attitude.
So, here is my take on the whole poser thing. Personally, I tend to lean towards the international attitude rather than the good ‘ole boy American attitude. I see nothing wrong with wearing a team kit and riding your bike even if you don’t race; as long as the wearing of the kit is in accordance with the organization’s rules. I do, however, have a problem with wearing a kit/jersey that is unique to an event or accomplishment that you did not complete, or not fulfilling the requirements for wearing such a kit or jersey. For example: If you wear a 508 Finisher’s Jersey, you better have finished that race; or I, personally, think you are a poser…and my judgment is derogatory! On a broader note, let’s take a look at a club kit for example. Does wearing the club kit as in Planet Ultra’s case, make you a poser in my definition of the word. Well, yes and no. If you purchased Planet Ultra’s kit and you participated in a Planet Ultra event, whether you finished or not, I don’t think you are a poser. On the other hand, if you just purchased the kit and never at least attempted one of their events, I would call you a poser.
Here is another extreme poser example and one for which I have incredible distain. There is this guy, let’s just call him poser-boy. On a ride I was on some time back, poser-boy shows up and just starts blowing off at the mouth about this and that. You know the kinda person who just talks louder than the rest of the group so he makes sure everyone notices him, instead of anyone else. Anyway, poser-boy pulls up beside me during the ride and starts his rendition of a, I’m this, and I’m that, one-way conversation. So, being the nice accepting person I am on occaision, I say: “Oh do you race?” Poser-boy says: “Yep, I was a pro for 21 years!” All proud and peacock like. As time goes on, poser-boy starts telling everyone he raced in the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, etc. He was even on Gerolsteiner’s team, Healthnet’s team and a host of others I can’t even remember, but the list is long, let me tell ya. So, myself and a few others, even a few local racer-dudes start researching poser-boy’s past via the wonderment that is Google. Guess what we find? Zero, Nadda, Zippo, not a thing that even references poser-boy. In fact, I researched Gerolsteiner’s team roster from the team’s inception and they’ve had one American on that team: Levi Liepheimer. And believe me, poser-boy doesn’t look anything like Levi. The sad thing is that poser-boy actually believes the drivel that is coming out of his mouth. Amazing! So, poser-boy get’s my vote for the best extreme poser act I’ve witnessed to date. So, I guess the question is: Are you a poser?